Not long ago, yer olde Aunty was enjoying the sights on another blog (oh, all right, it was The Romance Dish), when a very intriguing cover caught my eye! Needless to say, I had to find out more about this gorgeous hunk... er, um, BOOK!
Turns out this luscious...BOOK is the creation of a lovely author who happens to have a 'Bandita Connection' and she agreed to join us today for an interview. So please help me welcome Vanessa Kelly to the Lair!
AC: What made you start writing? Did anyone inspire or encourage you to write?
VK: I’ve been writing all my life in one form or another, either in graduate school or in my work life as a researcher. In grad school, I studied women writers of the Georgian and Regency era who, as you know, were the foremothers of the modern novel and the romance novel.
Several years after I left grad school I started toying (fool that I was!) with the idea of writing a romance. I’ve loved Regency romances ever since my sister introduced me to Georgette Heyer when I was in the eighth grade. And after studying all those fabulous writers in grad school, I developed a natural affinity for the period. So it made sense that when I started to write, I wrote Regency-set historical romance. I guess you could say my inspiration came from writers like Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and that well-spring of inspiration, Jane Austen. Throw Georgette Heyer into the mix and it all makes perfect sense!
AC: Yes, truly come GREAT inspiration!
How long have you been writing romance with an eye toward publication ?
VK: I’ve been writing romance for about four years.
AC: How many manuscripts did you finish before you sold?
VK: I completed two manuscripts before I sold, and my first book came out in April, 2009.
AC: We love “Call Stories” in the Lair, please share yours with us.
VK: I had just signed with an agent about two months before my book sold. She shopped it to a few houses, who liked it but enough to buy it. She then submitted it to a particular editor at Kensington, who she really believed would love it. By that point I had come to expect a fairly long submission process, so I wasn’t expecting to hear back for several weeks, at least.
Two days later, my husband and I were out shopping. When we returned home there was a message from my agent, telling me to call her at the end of the day because she had something important to discuss. Needless to say, by the end of the afternoon I was a wreck. When I called her, my agent said hello and then immediately put me on hold—for several very loooooong minutes. By the time she got back on the phone I was a total basket case! But the news was great—a two-book contract in Kensington’s Debut program.
AC: WOW! Well, I guess we can forgive her for putting you on hold for so long. LOL!
Please tell us about your current release.
VK: I actually have one book that just came out, and one book soon to be released. My Regency-set historical romance, SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL, came out in early May. It’s the second book in my series, which started with MASTERING THE MARQUESS. It’s a friends-to-lovers story, with a dash of danger and suspense thrown in, and it takes place in Bath, England. Sophie was a really fun heroine to write, especially since she keeps my hero, Simon, running in circles throughout the book. And you may notice that on the cover of the book—right next to the hunky guy with the great chest—there’s a fabulous quote from a certain Bandita!
If you want to read an excerpt of SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL, here’s the link to my website: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/excerpt_sse2.html
The other book I have coming out is called CADDYGIRLS, and it’s a contemporary romance that I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. It’s being released by Carina Press, which is Harlequin’s new digital imprint. We’re thrilled to be part of the first wave of authors for Carina, who I think is going to take the publishing world by storm.
AC: You are one busy lady! And how brave of you to co-write with your DH!
Plotter? Pantser? Or something in between? Anything else you want to share about your writing process?
VK: I’m a mad plotter. I make up plot boards, write outlines, character bios, GMC charts—you name it. If there’s a chart I’ve tried it! But I find that the more pre-work I do, the more efficiently and easily I write. I probably go overboard, but I don’t really find that it stifles the creative process. When I have a certain level of security as to what happens next, I can relax and just let the good stuff roll on out.
AC: I can see you and Tawny are go to get along famously.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with unpublished or recently published writers?
VK: Don’t treat your novels like your babies. The publishing business can be tough, and putting a little distance between yourself and your work can help keep your sanity intact. And definitely don’t read bad reviews!!
AC: Excellent advice! Especially about not reading bad reviews.Why are those the ones I always remember?!?!
On a happier note, what’s next for you, Vanessa?
VK: The next book in my Regency-set historical series will be out in May, 2011. It’s called MY FAVORITE COUNTESS, and the heroine is Bathsheba, who was the evil ex-mistress in SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL. It was so much fun reforming her. And just to make things more interesting, I paired her up with a crusading slum doctor—most definitely not the kind of man she’s used to!
I also have a short story in the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance, which comes out this summer. I know that Anna also has a story in that anthology—I can’t wait to read it!
AC: All those sound GREAT! I can hear the TBR piles growing now. Thank you for being here today Vanessa.
What about you? Do you like friends-to-lovers stories? Or are you more intrigued by the reformed bad boy/girl? What are some of your favorite stories with either of these two themes?
Vanessa is generously giving away TWO copies of her book SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL to lucky commenters today, so let us hear from YOU!